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What are truffles?
Truffles are one of the most exquisite luxurious products that can be found in nature. Their distinctive fragrance has inspired culinary brilliance for centuries.
We are not talking about those little chocolate sweets for dessert, but about the rare edible fungus that grows underground at the base of certain types of trees. That gives them the distinctive aroma and taste that chefs around the world crave for.
Main Spanish truffles
Spain is nowadays the biggest producer and exporter of the best quality Black Truffles. The two main species harvested in our country are the Black Truffle (Tuber melanosporum) -the most appreciated by gourmets-, and in second place, the Black Summer Truffle (Tuber aestivum).
How to find truffles?
As mentioned above, a truffle is an unusual mushroom that grows underground, attached to the roots of certain trees. Since they are not visible from the surface, they are especially difficult to find.
Hunters traditionally used pigs to detect these misterious mushroms; however, truffle duties were delegated to dogs later on for several reasons:
Dogs are much more friendly and easy to be trained.
They are less likely to eat their truffle finds, but it is necessary to be vigilant anyway because they also love their intense flavour.
They have more stamina than an average pig, which allows them to search for longer.
In certain countries, the use of truffle hogs has been prohibited due to the damage caused to the roots of truffle trees when they were digging.
Where do truffles grow?
In Spain, truffles have been found in the wild since the ancient times. In the past, wild truffles were abundant in our forests, as well as in the French and Italian landscapes.
Though, changes in the European rural world such as the disappearance of grazing, rural exodus, and wars -among others- caused a steady decrease of the production of wild truffles throughout Europe.
In spite of being such a rare and valued product all over the world, it is still unknown and mysterious in terms of its development and reproduction cycles. New scientific research made possible for truffles to grow naturally in holm oak, oak or hazelnut plantations as a result of the mycorrhization of their roots (trees are inoculated with truffle spores). After 5 to 10 years from planting mycorrhized trees, the first truffles begin to grow.
In Spain we can find truffles in the east half of the country, mainly in the provinces of Soria, Teruel, Barcelona, Lérida, Guadalajara, Zaragoza, and Huesca.
Do you want to live a truffle hunting experience in Spain?
Contact us and we will let you know the available options depending on the seasons.